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Iran: Has blogging become less popular since the election?

Eleven Iranian bloggers and media professionals representing different parts of the political spectrum have answered a questionnaire about the changing dynamics of Iranian citizen media since the election.

Before the June 2009 presidential election the most dynamic pillars of citizen media in Iran were YouTube and blogs. The election and the crisis that followed introduced Facebook and Twitter as two new primary channels of online citizen expression. For a short time during the election, the Iranian government blocked access to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and several other websites. Some, including one leading Islamist blogger [fa], called it a miscalculated strategy that helped the Iranian opposition dominate in the virtual realm. Despite the regime's attempts to filter social media websites, they became a powerful communication platform for the Green Movement.

So did the Iranian presidential election change the dynamics of citizen media tools and channels? Are Facebook and Twitter the dominant players? Are blogs gradually become a second hand channel for sharing ideas? What are the channels political activists use the most?

I asked one leading Islamist blogger; three Green bloggers; one leading environmentalist blogger; five media people; and one active blogger, to participate in a short multiple-choice survey. A group of eleven netizens could never represent the entire Iranian blogosphere, but it is a small step to gain insight.

1-Which are the sites you visit frequently since the presidential election?

Facebook was the favorite with six points, Twtter is at the bottom with one point. Blogs got two points and FriendFeed and YouTube three each.

survey1

2-In your opinion which sites do political and civil society activists use?

Blogs are still king with six points, Facebook gets three points, you Tube two points, FriendFeed one, Twitter got zero, and None gets one point.

survey2

Six of our netizens believe the importance of the blogs after the presidential election did not diminish, two think blogs became more important, and three believe their importance was diminished.

Of the latter group, two think that blogs became less important because of Facebook's growing popularity, and one thinks the reason is that bloggers became less active.

3-What is/are the site/s you prefer to discuss your favorite topics:

Blogs are mentioned 4 times, Facebook, 6 times, FriendFeed 3 times and Twitter one time.

In sum, reading this survey shows that after presidential election Iranian netizens have gone more visual and that Facebook has become a place to be for many of them including political leaders. The survey also shows that the so-called ‘twitter revolution’ (at least for our 11 participants) may have been more a phenomenon of western media than one of lasting consequence in the Iranian virtual world. Blogs still remain a valuable place but are losing the ground to the newcomers. Probably there is one certainty that after presidential election, nothing remained the same in Iranian community, the virtual as well as physical one.

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